The University announced on Feb. 16 that it will defer the start of the JDUC redevelopment by one year to May 2022.
Though the University said the design plans are complete, the ability to move forward with the project hinges on whether the required funding will be obtained.
The University will contribute $11.8 million to the $62.3 million redevelopment project, including $1.8 million from its operating funds and $10 million in donor funds. The collection of donor funds is one of the conditions set by the Board of Trustees when it approved the project in March 2019.
The Journal reported the University had raised just over $3 million for the project as of October 2020. The funds were expected to be in place by Fall 2020, but the timeline for this component has been extended to June 30, with a provision for an extension to Aug. 31.
“[The] Office of Advancement is working to identify potential outreach opportunities for interested alumni, donors, and potential donors this year, while adjusting to the fluid nature of the ongoing pandemic response,” the University wrote in a statement.
READ MORE: Queen’s misses initial deadline to collect donor funding for JDUC renovation
Through graduate and undergraduate referendums in February 2018 and January 2019, students agreed to contribute the remaining $50.5 million over 25 years.
“The University has stated this deferral is in place to ensure that the JDUC Redevelopment project that students voted for is not being downsized or compromised during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Jared den Otter, AMS president, told The Journal.
Students began paying a mandatory fee supporting the JDUC redevelopment this year; however, the University said the plan to increase that fee has also been deferred by a year. Both the AMS and the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) approved the deferral of the fee increase.
“As the project will not break ground in May, the AMS insisted the University reconsider the fee increase: we successfully ensured the University suspended the increase from $40 to $73.92, until fall 2022,” den Otter said. “The University still must secure $10 million for this project.”
Den Otter also stressed the importance of having “more accessible and frequent communications” from the JDUC Redevelopment Project team to the student body as the project moves forward.
“The lack of concrete communication from the University on this project is concerning— students deserve to know about the project they are funding,” he wrote. “[T]his project is designed to enhance the student experience. A priority for the outgoing AMS team in transition with the new executive will be focusing on key stakeholders within these projects and [facilitating] the appropriate relationships from the beginning.”
“This will equip the incoming team with the appropriate tools they need to represent undergraduate interests.”
Den Otter said he asked John Witjes, associate vice principal (facilities), about the possibility of a question and answer period for students with the architects and project managers.
“There is value in students having the ability to speak with the team working on this project,” den Otter wrote. “I have been working towards this—it will be a great way for students to gain insight into a project they are funding.”
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